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129 and thankfulness. Providential interpositions, and divine influence, are indeed supposed. But the train of circumstances, by which his dreadful attempts at self-destruction were repeatedly prevented, was so striking, that even a man of sober sense, might, without in the least forfeiting his claim to rationality, gratefully suppose them to proceed from the special care of a benevolent Deity; and if an opinion, thus formed, may have led the author astray with regard to some less remarkable occurrences, it is not to be imputed to a superstitious taint, but to a human error in reasoning.
Art. VIII.-1. A Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North
America ; with Observations relative to the North-West Company of Montreal. 8vo. By the Earl of Selkirk. London: 1816. 2. Voyage de la Mer Atlantique à l'Océan Pacifique par le
Nord-ouest dans la Mer Glaciale; par le Capitaine Laurent Ferrer Maldonado, l'an 1588. Nouvellement traduit d'un Manuscrit Espagnol, et suivi d'un Discours qui en démontre l'Autenticité et la Véracité, par. Charles Amoretti. Plaisance : de
l’Imprimerie del Majno. 1812. NO O one will doubt that Lord Selkirk is an amiable, honourable,
and intelligent man—but he has the misfortune to be a protector. We are persuaded, however, that his are not the deep-laid schemes of a sordid narrow-minded calculator, but the suggestions of an ardent imagination and a benevolent heart-such as are apt sometimes to overlook difficulties which it is not easy to overleap.
It will be remembered that his lordship, some years ago, made, an attempt, in part a successful one, to divert the 'tide of emigration from the Highlands of Scotland to the United States, and turn it to Prince Edward's Island, within the territories of Great Britain. His intentions were, no doubt, benevolent and humane ; but, an impulse was supposed to be given to them by the ruling passion of reviving, in North America, that species of feudal system which was finally extinguished in North Britain about seventy years since.' His lordship was thought to be ambitious of becoming the head of a clan-the chieftain and founder of numerous families. For such expansive views an island was too confined a sphere: but the neighbouring continent had all the requisites that could possibly be wished-an indefinite extent of territory, abounding in woods and plains, and extensive lakes, and navigable rivers ; with a soil capable of affording subsistence for millions, but nearly untenanted, save by the beasts of the forests, claimed as the exclusive property of some trading merchants under the grant of a Royal Charter, who would veither cultivate any part of it themselves, nor suffer others
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
ISO Lord Selkirk, and the North-west Company. OCT: to do it; he set about devising the means of rescuing some of the best parts of it from so unprofitable a condition. For this purpose, it is said, and we believe truly, his lordship purchased, at a price far beyond its value, about one-third part of the stock of the Hudson's Bay Company ;--the whole of which is only £100,000. A proprietor to such an extent could not well be refused a favour from the Governors of the Company; and they granted him, what we rather think the Law Officers of the Crown have decided they had no power to grant, a wide extent of country held, or supposed to be held, under their Charter, of which he proceeded to take possession.
• He was called away from England,' he says, 'to a remote part of the British dominions for the purpose, not only of defending his rights of property from threatened infringement, but also to give his personal support to a considerable body of individuals who, in a great degree, looked up to him for protection, and against whom a train of premeditated and violent aggression has been committed by their fellow sube jects.
On his arrival in Canada he found the territory which he was about to settle, and indeed the whole of America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes of Canada to the extreme North, overrun by the servants of an Association of Merchants in London and Montreal calling itself the North-west Company, between which and the Hudson's Bay Company there had long subsisted a deadly feud. At Montreal, we presume, he writes his « Sketch of the Fur Trade,' which is well calculated to bring down public indignation on the heads of those who conduct, or who are concerned in it. The pains that appear to be taken, and the plans that are laid, to seduce the inoffensive savages into habits of vice, in order that the traders' may the more easily exercise a brutal. tyranny over them; and the ferocious and unfeeling conduct of the Canadian rivals in the fur trade towards each other, setting at defiance all religion, morality and law, are stated in such terms and on such evidence, that they are not only deserving the early attention of the public, but will command it, and, we doubt not, call forth the immediate interference of the legislature.
It would seem, however, that Lord Selkirk has not thought fit to await the decision of the legislature or the executive government. The details of the extraordinary and atrocious transactions which have urged his lordship to the strange steps he has taken are not yet fairly before the public. Private letters, however, from interested individuals say, that Mr. Semple, recently appointed Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, while on a journey to inspect its forts and establishments in the Indian territories,' fell in with a party of natives carrying provisions to some of the trading establishments of the
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North-west Company; that Mr. Semple, through a mistaken zeal for the interests of his employers, hesitated to let them pass; that a scuffle ensued, in which the unfortunate governor and about twenty of his people were put to death. Mr. Semple could scarcely have denied the right of a passage to the natives through their own territories. The account given in the Montreal Herald of the 12th October, evidently from one of the few persons who survived the massacre, is probably the true one. From this it appears, that a regular expedition was fitted out by the North-west Company, to drive away, for the second time, the people belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, who had re-possessed themselves of their establishment on the Red-river. Mr. Semple, observing their approach from the fort, said. We must go and meet those people--let twenty men follow me. They had only proceeded a few hundred yards, when several colonists came running towards them in great dismay, crying out, • The North-west Company—the "half breeds !"' Having advanced about half a mile from Fort Douglas, a numerous body of cavalry appeared from behind a wood, and surrounded the Governor and his people, when one Bouché, a Canadian, rode up to Mr. Semple, demanding their fort.' The Governor answered, 'Go to your fort. • You,' retorted Bouché, have destroyed our fort, you damned rascal.' • Scoundrel,' said Semple, laying his hand upon Bouché's bridle
, dare you call me so?' Bouché sprang from his horse, and a shot was immediately fired, by which Lieut. Holt fell. The next shot wounded the Governor, who called out to his men, · Do what you can to take care of yourselves ;' but he was so much beloved that they affectionately gathered round him to learn what injury he had suffered; when a volley of musketry was poured into the group, which killed several and wounded the greater part of them.
'The cavalry galloped towards the survivors, who took off their hats and called for mercy. But this address for mercy was made to the servants of the North-west Company, and at their hands was immedi, ately received by what must be presumed the accustomed measure of their compassion—a speedy terroination of earthly. calamities. The knife, the axe, or the ball, in able and willing hands, soon placed in lasting repose, those whom pain or terror had rendered clamorous. One only was spared, through the exertions of a Canadian to whom he had been intimately known-two others were providentially saved by escaping to a canoe, and two more, by swimming, in the tumult, to the other side of the river.'
Thus fell Governor Semple, a man of amiable and modest manners, and of a most humane and benevolent disposition_his private secretary, the surgeon, two officers, and fifteen settlers. Their bodies are stated to have been barbarously mangled to gratify the savage rancour of their murderers, commanded by a Mr. Cuthbert